Thursday, October 13, 2011


MOST OF THE RESIDENTS' ROOMS I've visited are not filled with toys. There are a few, here and there, but I suspect we take the so-called cake for having the most. Every room has a storage cage in the basement; in our case, we have two. I've no idea what is in them. Every once in a while we go down to take an inventory, but stop in defeat before we can get past the front row of "stuff". We'll probably never will be up to our children to sort through it....... the final revenge, I suppose it could be called.

After Mr. Bob retired, we splurged and signed up for an Antique Toy Tour in Europe. It was a lovely trip, in which I proved to myself that I'm more drawn to museum quality new toys than I am willing to pay the price of antiques. One of the men in our group paid $100 for an empty box just because it increased the value of the toy he already owned.

Pinocchio was purchased in Switzerland and later, when we brought home the "man in the moon" from a trip to Seattle and hung it on the cabinet, I swear Pinocchio looked embarrassed.
Although I'm not much of a museum person, the buildings that we visited on that trip housed collections of old toys and were of a manageable size. We visited the Steiff factory and the place where Marklin trains are made and had quite a wonderful time.

This mirror was bought on that trip, too. The jumping jacks hung in our old bathroom. 

Red Riding Hood was something we sold in the bookshop. When the string was pulled, up popped the wolf. She lived in our bathroom, too.

I had a wealth of Beatrix Potter designs. I think this tin box once housed soap and toiletries. The only thing I ever sold on eBay was this Peter Rabbit lamp. The buyer was pleased, but I've long forgotten how I went about being a seller, so a lot of those items are in storage here at the Manor.
Let's see if I can shorten the tale of the Hummel girl reading, even though it's a long story. Once upon a time, we entered a window decorating contest at the store. I told my employee who liked doing our display windows that if we won, she and her husband could use the two tickets to Hawaii. I was stunned when she told me that rather than going with her husband, she wanted to go with my married landlord. Indeed, our store took first prize and off they went into the sunset. I'm not sure I've gotten totally over it yet. Upon their return they gave me this Hummel figure. I think I let it go when we moved. Both couples are divorced now and not with each other.

Alice in Wonderland was filled with lavender buds, a natural scent that lasts for years and years. Nice to tuck into the linen closet.

This carving was about 2 1/2 inches tall, a treasure obtained at a Renaissance Faire. I also have some jewelry pieces carved by this artist.

Dollhouse figures. The first Christmas we had the store, we sold all but one little boy doll and not wanting him to be lonely over the holiday, I placed another order even though it was too close to Christmas.

These little figures measure an inch tall. They're sitting on a small flower press that I've always intended to use, but never got around to it.

My given name is Mary Jane and truth to tell, I really, really don't like rice pudding.

This is just a sampling of my playthings. Some day I'll show you some more. One of my fondest memories in the years I had the bookstore, was when a man who often came in to browse, paused at the counter on his way out and whispered to me, "Jane, don't ever grow up!" What a refreshing thing to hear.

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; 
we grow old because we stop playing. "
                George Bernard Shaw 


  1. Those are all wonderful! I particularly like those tiny figures sitting on the flower press. Great quotation to go with.

  2. A wonderful sharing, Jane! Perhaps your readers will share some of their favorite toys?

    Having now moved three times in three years---I have learned that what you truly value is what you move with care! We have a HUGE assortment of our children's toys----saved for the grandchildren who now happily play with them. They are not as charming as your treasures, Jane, but they were WELL WORTH saving all these years!

    We just dragged home 3 giant, hairy spiders to go with our collection of homemade Halloween potions and my free-standing witch's broom. My husband turned the staircase into a pirate ship for our 2 year old grandson.....WE VALUE PLAY every much at our house!

  3. Lovely. It is apparent why you chose to own a children's book shop.

  4. I love the Hummel story!